The Amboli police on Tuesday arrested a 37-year-old IT professional for allegedly stalking a woman in the early hours of Monday. Accused Nitesh Sharma followed the woman, a fashion designer, for nearly 45 minutes before turning up at her doorstep. Later, he stood outside her building till she called the building security guard for help. She then approached the Amboli police, who registered an FIR and arrested Sharma from his Malad residence.
As per the police, the incident took place around 1 am Monday, when the woman was returning home with a friend from the Seven Bungalows area in Andheri (West) in her BMW. The accused, an IT professional from Hyderabad who had come to the city four days ago, started following her in his Honda Civic car, said Daya Nayak, assistant inspector, Amboli police station.
“When she went to a friend’s building to pick up her two children, Sharma was not allowed entry to the building. He waited outside and smoked a cigarette. When her car left the building, he continued to follow her,” Nayak said.
When the woman reached her building, the accused followed her inside, said the police. Since his vehicle closely followed that of the woman, the building security guard thought he was an acquaintance of the resident and hence allowed his car to enter the building, said Nayak.
Sharma, however, had to park his car at some distance from the main building in the parking lot for guests. He waited below the building as he did not know her flat number.
“At this point, the security guard, assuming he had come with the woman, asked him why was he waiting there when she had already gone to her first-floor residence. He also mentioned the room number,” said the officer.
Sharma then headed towards her flat and rang the doorbell around 2 am, said the police. Finding the stranger outside on opening the door, the woman asked what he wanted. Sharma then told her that he wanted to talk to her.
“She then yelled at him and called the security guard. Scared, Sharma rushed down and left the building in his four-wheeler. He, however, parked his car outside her building, in front of her balcony. He kept staring at her flat and smoked a cigarette. She took some photographs of Sharma and also informed the security guard about the vehicle being parked there,” added a police officer.
When the security guard questioned Sharma, he fled in his vehicle. The next day, the woman approached the Amboli police station where a case of stalking under Section 354 (D) of the Indian Penal Code was registered against the unidentified person.
“When we tried to track the registration number of the vehicle, it turned out to be incorrect. While the vehicle in the photograph was a Honda Civic, this vehicle turned out to be a Fiat. Eventually, we managed to track the Honda Civic and arrested Sharma from his Malad residence on Tuesday,” Nayak said.
“The reason there was a confusion in the automobile was because one of the alphabets in the number plate of Sharma’s car was missing. We do not know if he deliberately removed the alphabet to avoid being tracked down… His relative, whose car he was using, told us that the alphabet had not been removed by them. We will be questioning him about it,” added the officer. The woman later posted about the incident on Facebook.
“In the last 10 years, I’ve always felt safe in Bombay, and in the same breath have always cursed Delhi! But last night showed me a different side to my ‘not so safe anymore’ city! 2 women and 2 kids in a car together don’t stop a random man from stalking and following you upto your house and ringing your door bell at 2am! He didn’t have any fear in his eyes, a fear of being captured by security cameras, interrogation by security guards or threats of police! He just hung around coolly in his car long after the incident very comfortable in getting his pictures clicked!” reads her Facebook post.